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Case Name Brooks v. Gant VR-SD-0048
Docket / Court 12–5003–KES ( D.S.D. )
State/Territory South Dakota
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Case Summary
On January 13, 2012, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota against the State of South Dakota, Shannon County, and Fall River County, under §2 and §5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Indian Citizenship Act, 42 U.S. ... read more >
On January 13, 2012, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota against the State of South Dakota, Shannon County, and Fall River County, under §2 and §5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Indian Citizenship Act, 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Declaratory Judgment Act, and state law. They argued that the lack of early voting in Shannon County, the county where the Oglala Sioux reside and which is populated entirely by Native Americans, violated the plaintiffs' rights. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief.

On March 6, 2012, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, arguing the motion was moot because they had voluntarily agreed to provide early voting in Shannon County through 2018. On March 14, 2012, Judge Karen Schreier agreed with the defendants’ reasoning and granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. 2012 WL 871262.

On September 27, 2012, Judge Schreier denied defendant Gant’s motion to dismiss on the grounds of sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment of the US Constitution because the plaintiffs sought future relief through an injunction and not retroactive relief, therefore the Ex Parte Young exception doctrine to sovereign immunity applied. Furthermore, Judge Schreier denied defendant Gant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims for standing because the infringement of the plaintiffs’ voting rights was a harm directly linked to Gant’s conduct that could be redressed through a court ruling. Lastly, Judge Schrieir found that the plaintiffs succeeded in stating a claim on all grounds, therefore denying Gant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. 2012 WL 4482984.

On October 4, 2012, Judge Schreier ruled against another motion to dismiss the action, which had been filed on August 10, 2012. Judge Schreier held that, although the defendants voluntarily agreed to provide early voting in Shannon County through 2018, the plaintiffs’ claims were not moot because of the likelihood of the issue recurring in the future. The defendants' agreement to provide early voting would expire in 2019, and there was no funding allotted to continue the early voting past 2018. 2012 WL 4748071.

On October 17, 2012, the defendants moved to dismiss on new, ripeness, grounds. They claimed that the plaintiffs' alleged harm was too distant and uncertain for the court to maintain jurisdiction because early voting was guaranteed until 2019. Judge Schreier granted this motion on August 6, 2013. All pending motions were denied as moot. 2013 WL 4017036.

Judge Schreier denied the defendants’ request for their bill of costs since the relief the plaintiffs obtained was only obtained after the lawsuit was filed. This case is now closed.

Jonathan Forman - 06/04/2013
Mackenzie Walz - 11/29/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
American Indian/Alaskan Native
Voting
Election administration
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Voting Rights Act, section 2, 42 U.S.C. § 1973
Voting Rights Act, section 5, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c
Voting Rights Act, unspecified, 42 U.S.C § 1973 et seq.
Defendant(s) Fall River County
Shannon County
State of South Dakota
Plaintiff Description Specified enrolled members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and qualified voters of the State of South Dakota.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
12-cv-5003-KES (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/01/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
VR-SD-0048-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Plaintiff's Preliminary Injunction] and Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction as Moot [ECF# 66] (2012 WL 871262) (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/14/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Shannon County Early Voting Study [ECF# 92-1]
VR-SD-0048-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendant Gant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 95] (2012 WL 4482984) (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/27/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Summary Judgment Brief [ECF# 102]
VR-SD-0048-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Granting Defendants' Motion to Extend [ECF# 106] (2012 WL 4748071) (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/04/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Without Prejudice (2013 WL 4017036) (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/06/2013
Source: Westlaw
Order Denying Bill of Costs [ECF# 163] (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Schreier, Karen E. (D.S.D.)
VR-SD-0048-0004 | VR-SD-0048-0005 | VR-SD-0048-0006 | VR-SD-0048-0007 | VR-SD-0048-0008 | VR-SD-0048-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Sandven, Steven Daniel (South Dakota)
VR-SD-0048-0001 | VR-SD-0048-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Frankenstein, Sara (South Dakota)
VR-SD-0048-0003 | VR-SD-0048-9000
Mann, Rebecca L. (South Dakota)
VR-SD-0048-9000
Williams, Richard M. (South Dakota)
VR-SD-0048-9000
Other Lawyers Doody, Robert J. (South Dakota)
VR-SD-0048-9000

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